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FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A federal grand jury in New York indicted two Iranian nationals on charges related to a cyber-based disinformation campaign to "undermine voter confidence" and "sow discord" in the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The indictment, unsealed Thursday, alleges that the hackers claimed to be members of the Proud Boys and sent messages to thousands of voters threatening them with "physical injury" if they didn't vote for former President Donald Trump.

  • Last year, the Director of National Intelligence warned that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to interfere in the 2020 election.
  • The hackers also demanded that registered voters change their party affiliation to Republican, adding, "We will know which candidate you voted for," per the indictment.

The big picture: Earlier this week, an advisory compiled by American, British and Australian officials outlined malicious activity perpetrated by hackers linked to the Iranian government.

  • The agencies noted that Iranian Government-sponsored hackers exploited computer vulnerabilities and targeted "multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors," namely the transportation and health care sectors.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 3, 2021 - World

Western negotiators tell Iran new nuclear proposals are "not serious"

Iran nuclear talks resumed in Vienna this week. Photo: EU Vienna Delegation/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The nuclear negotiators for the E3 – France, Germany and the U.K. – told Iranian negotiators in coordination with the U.S. that the opening proposals they presented in Vienna nuclear talks this week were unserious and unacceptable, an E3 diplomat briefed on the talks said.

Why it matters: The readout of the first round of talks show gaps between Iran and its Western counterparts that at the moment seem very wide and hard to bridge.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.